I stumbled across Plaster, I have no idea how. I decided to have a listen to their second album ‘Let it All Out’. It was released in 2011, 6 years after their Acid Jazz/Electro album “First Aid Kit”. I listened to their first album to draw some comparisons as to how they’ve changed.
“Be My Woman” starts the album. Beginning with a Nina Simone like piano, trudging through the sample of the Prison Song ‘Rosie’. Then the song roars into action through a stabbed percussion. The electric funk and rock track is a delight from start to finish. A narrow sounding track that use linear directness to demonstrates Plaster’s more simple aspect. The Jazz influence still remains and it becomes evident this is not your typical band, this is challenging. It may have some elements of convention, but it truly hits a place not heard before.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ch5IWTavUc – Sampled in Be My Woman
“Shoot the Moon” features Meli Mae and D Shade; they make a few other appearances on the album; and it begins with a drum fill into a breakbeat utilising the choking hi hats and funk driven angle of the band. Some musk stacatto keys play as Meli Mae sings. Q Chord type arpeggio chords join in on the chorus as does the bass, making the chorus a climax. It is familiar of a more aggressive version of Kids With Guns by Gorillaz, yet it distinct in its own right.
The JUSTICE akin “P.U.N.K.S” is my least favourite track at the album, which is a shame. Musically it is decent and is (dare I be sacrilege enough to suggest) an Electro Rock Led Zepplin type track. The first instrumental of the album “Trip A3” is more reminiscent of the bands first album at times, but still removed from it as a whole.
“Booggéré” features scat like vocals from the outset and is build a simplistic chord structure that changes key throughout the song, but repeats the melody just higher. The song is followed by a weird NES sounding renedition of the same song. It is a cute addition, and doesn’t really last long and thus doesn’t detract but adds to the flow of the album. So far it is mostly good. What about the second half?
“Let it All Out” is the title track and features D Shade for his third appearance. It continues with the familiar sound and style of Plaster’s album and thus is appropriate the album was named after it.
“The End (of the Beginning)” starts with Chip tune noises before kicking into the manic section. The Daft Punk vocoder effect and roboticness. It features a sample of Winston Churchill (hence the title) from 1942. The song generally sticks to the conventions of the album, tom dabbling drums in the verses and post grunge in the choruses. There isn’t a meaning to the madness, but there is indeed method. The song also has feedback effects and other manipulations to the track that make it sound stretched out and broken.
“Nobody’s Heart Belongs To Me” features Valerie J. Keaton. The Smooth Jazz aspect is reminiscent of Portishead meets Koop. It stands out on an album full of head banging, dancing, fuzzified tracks. It’s a dreamscape blending legato strings and swinging drums.
“Dancing Lemons” features the four on the floor house beat as it builds for the first minute. But this isn’t a straight 4/4 track. The live drums creates for some intricate flam work, shuffles and tom works. This is easily a grower and not your typical dance floor filler. The only downside is it feels engulfed by the rest of the album and so the beauty of it is missed and some of the trio’s collective brilliance on the track is too.
“Bitch Boys” starts less aggressively than expected for a song called Bitch Boys. After a swashful introduction, the keys briefly start to take the octave below and above presence as best heard on Pulp’s ‘Common People’. The track explodes with throbbing bass and breakbeat drums. The glockenspiel and some moog type synth making the track a tonker toy affair.
At the end of “Bitch Boys” there is a reprise (ala the Piper sound) of “Shoot the Moon” to finish the album.
The album is a treat. It stands out. It feels pleasant, shifting and lies somewhere inbetween Electro Rock, Hip Hop and Jazz Funk. One of the best elements of the album is from start to finish (even on the slower or mellower tracks) you can dance to it without a care. It doesn’t rely on the clichés of most Dance music past or present. The other standout element is the album is over processed, rigid and awkward. The drums are live but have been tweaked to sound full and rocking. The bass fuzzes like a chariot and adds little twitches throughout which are emphasised by the drums. The keyboards are used like no other dance record at the moment, there are prog like solos. The instrumental tracks and the singing tracks both have a life of their own. The biggest downside is the fact this could have been somewhat more groundbreaking. Due to compressed mastering, the raw power of the drums lose their edge. It is kind of similar to some of the tracks on The Prodigy’s Invaders Must Die. Dave Grohl plays drums on two tracks and both times that thunderous pulse that makes the track stand out in terms of rhythm is lost due to a fatigued sound of compression. Word of warning to the band, release with a little of the compression pulled back. The drums shouldn’t sound like they are being played down the corridor, they should sound like they are the back of the band but with pulse and feeling.
Put it simply, I loved this album. 7.5/10
- Be My Woman
- Shoot for the Moon
- Trip A3
- Booggéré Piper
- Let it All Out
- The End (of the Beginning)
- Nobody’s Heart Belongs To Me
- Dancing Lemons
- Bitch Boys